A brief history of the Lions Gate Bridge

The Lions Gate Bridge began construction on March 31, 1937 and opened to the public on Nov 14, 1938. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth officiated the opening on May 29, 1939. In this photograph, James Crookall captures a man and a woman crossing the bridge a year after it’s opening.

Crookall (Nov. 7, 1887 – July 27, 1960) came to Vancouver as a child and was an avid amateur photographer and an enthusiastic outdoorsman. He was an active member of the Vancouver Photographic Society and regularly exhibited his photographs in international salons. Crookall was also involved with a local group of amateur photographers called the “cycling circus”, which formed during the gas-rationing years of World War II and organized photographic trips by bicycle.

The City of Vancouver turned down the idea of having the bridge built across the First Narrows because of the impact it would have on Stanley Park. Citizens ended up defeating the idea of building the bridge in a plebiscite in 1927 but a man named Alfred James Towle Taylor overcame the objections. Taylor was an engineer who worked on a variety of large projects in B.C. and got the Guinness brewing family to pay for the bridge. The Guinness family paid exactly $5,873,837.17 to build the bridge and sold it for that same amount to the province in 1955. The fact that the bridge didn’t cost the city any money and that construction created jobs during the Great Depression proved irresistible.


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